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Starwatch: look to the east at dawn for a sight of gibbous moon | The moon



Awake with the dawn chorus this week? Take a look to the east. On successive days, before the sun rises, the visible planets will be visited in turn by the waning gibbous moon.

Start looking at about 0400BST on the morning of 21 June, when the moon will be close to Jupiter. The chart shows the view looking east from London at 0400BST a day later on 22 June. By this time the moon will be heading for Mars, which it will pass on the morning of 23 June.

Each day, notice the gradual decrease of the illuminated portion. As it heads closer to the direction of the sun, the angle changes and more of the far side becomes illuminated, meaning that the side facing us finds itself in more and more shadow.

This week’s conjunctions are even easier to see from the southern hemisphere. From Sydney, Australia, look east at 0400AEST, and they will take place in a fully dark sky. Later in the week, those with very low eastern horizons will be able to see a thin crescent moon encounter Venus on 26 June, and Mercury a day later. Be careful of the rising sun though – never look at it directly.

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